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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 

Article: Misc. 
 

We live in a post-Christian era, we're told. But being defined by what you're after doesn't tell us what you're about. Spiritual longings go deep in the human heart the New Atheists remain much less popular than the self-consciously spiritual Oprah Winfrey and it remains to be seen to what spiritual calling the current era will respond. Maybe... paganism? Every once in a while you see a trend story about pagan revivals. This time, it seems to be going on in Iceland. Ironically, the idea of time going in cycles is a venerable pagan doctrine.
 
As seen in the ancient Greek, Celtic, and Norse traditions, the pagan idea most alien to the modern worldview is probably the belief that the entire cosmos is animated by agencies. The seasons, the tides, the phases of the moon, and so on, all were ascribed to the divine, and to various gods, who could then be propitiated.

The pagan worldview was both enormously exciting and more than a little bit scary. To the pagan mind, the world was alive with energy and intelligence and purpose in a way that might be impossible for us, on the other side of the scientific revolution, to imagine. But this was scary because the intelligences that made the world alive were by no means necessarily friendly. In the ancient world, one was always aware of disease, famine, natural disaster.
 
Maybe it is this longing to see the world as other than a dead machine that causes periodic revivals of interest in the paranormal or in paganism.

 

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